Australian outsourcing outpacing the world

The Australian Federal Government is leading the world in its use of IT outsourcing, says Bob Evans, global outsourcing director for Unisys.

According to Evans, government bodies around the world are typically reticent to employ technology-savvy engineers due to increasing demand and subsequent rising employment costs. Governments are yet to discover the advantages inherent to IT outsourcing, such as reduced staff training costs and increased focus and productivity, he said.

The Australian Government, on the other hand, has already started to reap the benefits of IT outsourcing. "They set the tone for their commercial side to look more aggressively at outsourcing," Evans said. "Typically it's the other way around. What the Government is getting out of it is the ability to take infrastructure and have someone run that for them, and then redirect their people to the more important things they have on the drawing board."

Evans said it is becoming increasingly difficult for government bodies to remain abreast of new technologies because they "can't afford to bring people in with the technology base they need to stay current. Competition for people is tougher and the skill sets of people have to change rapidly. Thereby the cost of training and keeping people current is more difficult," he said.

Evans suggested further technological measures, such as government-to-consumer transactions, could be embraced by Australian Government agencies. He cited the example of the Canadian initiative Atlantic Canada Online, which enables the Canadian public to access and fully transact with government departments. Canadians are able to make appropriate payments and renew their car registration from government-initiated remote internet kiosks, he said.

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